When the Admiral Yanow Navy League cadets gathered for a uniformed photo shoot at the beach in Parksville Monday, a surprise visitor showed up in some of the images.
It wasn’t a photo bomber; rather, the commanding officer of Canadian Forces Maritime Experimental and Test Ranges in Nanoose Bay arrived for an unscheduled presentation of a commendation to one of the young cadets.
Commander Darren Rich presented a Commanding Officer’s Commendation coin to Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric Kittmer, 11, in recognition of Kittmer’s portrayal of the 100th anniverary of the battle of Vimy Ridge, said Sub Lieutenant (NL) Shannon Pennington, commanding officer of the Admiral Yanow Navy League Corps.
Rich had met the young cadet at a Canadian Legion luncheon for veterans at which Kittmer was helping to serve. Kittmer had drawn a picture to commemorate the anniversary of Vimy Ridge, and Pennington said Rich was so moved that he told the youth, “I will share this picture with everyone at the base.”
A couple of weeks later, Commander Rich contacted Pennington to see if he could present this coin at the cadets’ annual ceremonial review on June 11.
“Unfortunately, he will be away that weekend with his family,” Pennington responded. “However, we are having our photos taken at the beach next week.”
So Rich came to the beach photo shoot held on May 29 and presented the coin to Kittmer for his community service, spirit and dedication, said Pennington.
Anyone interested in the Navy League program, for youths from 9-12 years of age, is welcome to attend their annual ceremonial review, the year-end show of accomplishments, on Sunday, June 11.
The ceremony will start at 2:45 p.m. at the old Parksville Elementary school, at 330 Craig St. in Parksville.
— NEWS Staff/Navy League submission